Cheney Refused to Release the Journalists

There is a lot in Cheney’s interview report–we’ll have a busy weekend. But for the moment, let’s start with this bit:

After the Vice President again mentioned that he was pressed for time, two separate requests were made to Vice President Cheney in an effort to assist the DOJ/FBI investigation into this matter. First, an FBI waiver form was presented to the Vice President and copies were given to his attorneys. It was explained to Vice President Cheney that his signature was being sought on the waiver form in order to release any reporters with whom the Vice President may have had conversations about the subject matter of this investigation, from promises of confidentiality arising from any such conversations. Vice President Cheney acknowledged receipt of the FBIs waiver form but declined to sign until his attorneys have had sufficient time to review it.

Cheney refused to release the reporters he spoke with of confidentiality.

Now, over the course of his interview, Cheney was asked and he denied speaking with Novak and Cooper (and claimed to have no knowledge of discussions with Judy). The sole key journalist in question he didn’t deny any knowledge about was Woodward (and, though less important, Andrea Mitchell). But he basically denied speaking to any journalist.

And then he refused to sign a waiver of confidentiality over his conversations with journalists.

Couple that with a few more data points.

  1. When Libby was first asked to sign such a waiver, he too refused to sign it.
  2. When Novak was first asked to testify, he refused to testify until he could limit his testimony to those who had signed such waivers (and he originally limited it to Armitage, Rove, and Harlow).
  3. The only question Judy Miller refused to provide some answer to when I posed a bunch of questions about her involvement was about seeing Cheney in Jackson when she saw Scooter (the Aspen comment).
  4. After Novak was interviewed in September 2004, someone–presumably Fitzgerald–searched for records of contacts between Novak and the White House on a bunch of days, including July 7, 2003, the day before Novak spoke with Armitage.
  5. Judy refused to testify about her conversations on this subject until she could limit her conversations to Libby.

If Cheney spoke to both Novak and Judy–and there’s reason to believe he might have–he refused to expose those conversations to the scrutiny of Fitzgerald.

30 replies
  1. perris says:

    Cheney was asked and he denied speaking with Novak and Cooper (and claimed to have no knowledge of discussions with Judy). … But he basically denied speaking to any journalist.

    And then he refused to sign a waiver of confidentiality over his conversations with journalists

    excellant knife through butter right there marcy!

    • emptywheel says:

      It’s not just Judy.

      We’ve had very good reason for some time to believe that someone coached Novak (and Woodward) to ask certain questions of Armitage.

      We have reason to believe Novak spoke with someone at OVP on July 7, 2003.

      There’s also reason to suspect that Novak, in addition to Mrs. Greenspan, would have attended the Jerry Ford birthday party on July 16, 2003.

      • MadDog says:


        And some of the other names that I find interesting that Fitzgerald and the FBI floated through the interview are:

        Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz on page 11.
        Mary “Way too much Botox” Matalin on page 12.

  2. perris says:

    I can’t cut and paste through this pdf but this is interesting right on top combined with marcy’s observation, typed not paste;

    “the vice president advised that, like all employees in the white house, he ad been directed by the president to cooperate in the department of justice investigation…”

    notice my italics, that’s a sworn admission of an executive directive posed on the vice president, combine that with marcy’s observation;

    And then he refused to sign a waiver of confidentiality over his conversations with journalists

    a contradiction of terms right there

  3. MadDog says:

    Just to help folks out on the redacted parts, here is a resource defining each one of the FOIA exemptions:

    FOIA Exemptions

    As you can see on the redacted parts of paragraph 3 on page 14 of the Cheney Interview Summary (28 page PDF), the redactions are claimed exempt from FOIA due to b6 and 7(c).

    Those exemptions are as follows:

    (b)(6) EXEMPTION 6 Personal Information Affecting an Individual’s Privacy. This exemption permits the government to withhold all information about individuals in “personnel and medical files and similar files” when the disclosure of such information ” would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” This exemption cannot be invoked to withhold from a requester information pertaining to the requester.


    (b) (7) EXEMPTION 7(C) Personal Information in Law Enforcement Records. This exemption provides protection for personal information in law enforcement records. This exemption is the law enforcement counterpart to Exemption 6, providing protection for law enforcement information the disclosure of which “could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

  4. pinson says:

    Two things jumped out at me:

    Page 22 (U)
    The vice president advised that there was no discussion of “pushing back” on Wilson’s credibility by raising the nepotism issue, and there was no discussion of using Valerie Wilson’s employment with the CIA in countering Joe Wilson’s criticisms and claims about Iraqi efforts to procure yellowcake uranium from Niger.

    An absurd claim since he says this shortly after being confronted with the Wilson op-ed on which he had written in the margin: “did his wife send him on a junket?”

    Page 27 (T)
    The Vice President cannot specifically recall having a conversation with Scooter Libby during which LIbby advised the VP that he wanted to share the key judgements of the NIE with Judith Miller. Although the VP cannot recall having such a conversation, if one did occur, he would have advised Libby only to use something if it was declassified. He believed Libby would have told him about any attempts to put something out to the media prior to its declassification and the Vice President does recall having a conversation at some time with Libby about the NIE.

    Anyone want to guess what Scooter’s reaction is going to be when he reads this? Or better yet, Mrs. Libby? What a monumental weasel Dick is.

    • timr says:

      you don’t really understand the relationship. Scooter agreed to throw himself on his sword in order to protect Cheney. This agreement extends for as long as Cheney wants it to. Scooter sees himself as protecting a great person. One of the “governing class”

  5. perris says:

    I found something at b1 63;

    [redacted] had determined some of the [niger] documents which had been provided to [redacted but long enough to look like “vice president} had been forgeries…

    vp speculated this might be the reason he asked for a compilation of documents related”

    hard to do this without a cut and paste available but that right there demonstrates unequivially he knew the documents he referanced were forgeries

  6. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Just how can Darth keep his security clearance if he won’t answer questions from the Feds? Sure he is elected Vice President but he still is a security risk until he is cleared.

    • MadDog says:

      I’m guessing you really mean Lizard Cheney, and I’m sure she and PapaDick are spitting tacks right about now.

      Shorter Lizard Cheney: “This is a witchhunt! Doh! My Pop’s a witch?”

      Halloween at the Cheney’s. To die for!

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Each new disclosure makes it harder to understand why Fitzgerald didn’t indict the Vice President. True, Addington would roll over in his grave before rolling on Dick Cheney. Libby was almost as tough to roll, but not quite, which may explain, in part, why Cheney has staunchly defended him without stop. Compare that to the short-sighted Bush, who dispenses with hired hands at the drop of his ten-pint hat. If Addington and Libby were the only two whose testimony could validate Cheney’s lies, I could make sense of Fitzgerald’s decision. If not, I can’t.

    • perris says:

      cheney, bush and all must have any security clearances revoked immediatly and they should have been revoked as soon as the next administration could concievably do it

      • ThingsComeUndone says:

        Cheney still has a security clearance I bet he uses that top secret information to help his investments.

        • perris says:

          there’s no question in my mind they used their ability to “spy without warrant” for the purpose of financial personal gain

          there is no reason on the planet you won’t let someone check to make sure you aren’t stealing information unless you are stealing information

          they stole information for their personal gain and that’s the reason they wanted to avoid warrants, it’s the only reason

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          It is astounding. Among other things that Cheney could not do without an adequate security clearance is review his own work papers, including whatever was/is in his man-sized safe. (I wonder if that’s a Billy Crystal size or Arnold Schwarzenegger size.) That would preclude him from organizing them, as he is entitled to do for a short period, or from using them to refresh his recollection in writing his memoirs. The papers themselves are the property of the people of the United States, not Cheney (or Bush) personally.

  8. Mary says:

    Do we really know that he never signed it or just that he didn’t sign it on the spot? To be honest, if I was the lawyer for Cheney (God forbid) at that meeting, I wouldn’t have let him sign a waiver on the spot – I’d have wanted to get a copy, review it without pressure, and discuss it confidentially with him first. But that doesn’t mean in the end I wouldn’t go ahead with producing it, esp if the Pres was directing that production.

    BTW – I thought one of the most intersting points was how, up front, he reserves privilege and right to non-respond. Doesn’t really jive with Breuer’s argument that OVP needs the DOJ to rush in and protect disclosures to preserve trust for future interviews.

    • MadDog says:

      BTW – I thought one of the most intersting points was how, up front, he reserves privilege and right to non-respond. Doesn’t really jive with Breuer’s argument that OVP needs the DOJ to rush in and protect disclosures to preserve trust for future interviews.

      I had the same thought. An ex post facto assertion of privilege request by Mumbles Mukasey (or should it be Mulligan Mukasey?) when Darth, at the very time of the interview, had expressly reserved the right to assert, and then made no such assertion.

      • Mary says:

        OK – I get lost in all the swirl of the FOIAs outstanding on where their response status is. I’d tend to think that there would have been some communication follow up from the SPec Pros office or the FBI on the point, though. Asking “hey, are we going to get those waivers now that we’ve asked for them” etc. Is there just and emptiness on that front?

  9. perris says:

    onteresting, over at the news desk there’s this;

    LATER LATER UPDATE: I’ll probably have more on this tomorrow, but this was a train wreck of a Friday news dump: WH visitor logs and Cheney FBI tapes drop, and the Afghan runoff is off?

    marcy, I think you’ll have a field day with that and your timelines but I fear you will get no sleep this weekend

  10. OldFatGuy says:

    Damn I wish this no good, downright evil, motherfucker was behind bars once and for all. I don’t care if it’s only one goddamned day and his heart crokes, this bastard deserves a set of bars as window ornaments like no other U.S. politician in history.

  11. Cynthia Kouril says:

    OK can someone tell me why the FBI redacted out the part of each page that says it is a form302?

    FD 302 is the form that agents use to type up a “report of interview”.

    Why is the form # a secret? oh yeah, it’s not.

    Chuckling and shaking my head

  12. cinnamonape says:

    Interesting the fact that Fitz was wondering whether it was Cheney who provided Eric Edelman and Neil Patel with Plame’s identity…”I don’t recall”.

    Also why is the example that Cheney used where he actually DID declassify material redacted? Wouldn’t that item be “declassified” and the fact that Cheney was the legitimate “declassifier” part of the public record? Also how could he be unaware that the NIE declassification was opposed by the CIA? Isn’t the procedure that the original classifying authorities are informed about a pending declassification and given opportunity to challenge? It seems that this declassification, and the specifity to particular sections, now was clearly “fast-tracked” by Cheney.

    • MadDog says:

      Excellent points, and in particular, that redacted, but apparently “Cheney-declassified” material.

      Note that the material Cheney claims he declassified (pages 25-26) is marked with the FOIA exemptions b2 and b5, and those exemptions are:

      (b)(2) EXEMPTION 2 Internal Personnel Rules and Practices. This exemption exempts from mandatory disclosure records “related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency.” Courts have interpreted the exemption to encompass two distinct categories of information:

      (a) internal matters of a relatively trivial nature–sometimes referred to as “low2” information; and

      (b) more substantial internal matters, the disclosure of which would risk circumvention of a legal requirement–sometimes referred to as “high 2” information.


      (b)(5) EXEMPTION 5 Privileged Interagency or Intra-Agency Memoranda or Letters. This exemption protects “inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums of letters which would not be available by law to a party …in litigation with the agency.” As such, it has been construed to “exempt those documents, and only those documents, normally privileged in the civil discovery context.”

      If declassified, by Cheney or anyone else, to what purpose if the material is then hidden by claims of FOIA exemptions?

      • Citizen92 says:

        Extensive use of the word “agency” in that section. Recall that the Fourth Branch OVP claims it is not an “agency.”

        And why does Dick consider himself the “tie breaking vote” in classification disputes among Agencies. That strikes me as odd.

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